Define Values...

Beliefs, values, and morals are all words that, in my opinion, are thrown around far too lightly.

I think that a moral value, should be as important as it is followed.  I find that if you ask anyone what their morals are, they would be health, kindness, respect, and everything along those lines... but I also find that those same people will often prioritize a more shallow existence over the morals they have in place, for the reason of convenience and greed.


I know that every single one of us has gone against our own morals and values in the persuit of something selfish.  I'm sure that many of us will do even more against their values in pursuit of financial gain... like money is some sort of justification.  For example: "I hate the job - but the money is good".  What does that mean? Does that dictate that money is happiness?  If so, how much is enough?   If this wasn't the case, more people would pursuit careers for their job description, and not the salary, and more people would prioritize everyday happiness, opposed to the thrill/addiction of spending money.


What is a value or moral?  I believe personally that they are beliefs most of us have put in place as guidelines to obtain pride in ones actions.  They can be taught, just as they can be learned through experience.


Does money have anything to do with morals and values?  I say that it shouldn't, but often does.  We all often make financial goals in life that are beyond our needs and intellectual well being - regardless of current income.  We develop standards that may not actually be vitally important.  For example - the need to have a new car, cellphone, wardrobe, etc.  We all know that we do not need these things, and that others are not as fortunate, but we continue to put much effort into such goals, which in some cases can contribute to a compramise of non-financial aspects of ones life.


Where does greed come from?  I really wish I knew.  I am sure that there are many contributing factors, and that the bigger question should be: Is greed avoidable?  Do we have enough self control, and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good in order to maintain pure moral value? I don't think so... especially since so many of us are like this, and are willing to accept greed as justification for wrong doing.  For example: choosing walmart for it's low prices - all while knowing that small local businesses are suffering because walmart is too big of a competitor.   We all frequently buy things that were made in sweat shops - but if asked our opinion on the matter, will express that we do not agree with sweat shops, and that people all over the world should have the same freedoms as us.  We are going against our morals in the form of ignorance to these problems in order to obtain satisfaction in the short term.  I believe this also why many of us get fat - despite wanting to be healthy.  Calories, salt, and fat taste good, and that temporary and short term sense of satisfaction out weighs  all health risks, and thus morals.



I watched a very interesting episode of "Wife Swap" a few days ago that really inspired deep thought.  Wife swap is a show where two completely different families with different values and beliefs trade wives, and then in turn trade lives with each others families.  The first week the "new wives" are to follow by the existing rules of their "new families".  The second week the wife changes the rules and then the "new family" gets to experience life as the "new wife" does at home.  Well this particular episode covered basically everything that I mentioned above.  

There was one family who lived in a runned down fishing boat out in the boonies that had no road access.  They grew/raised all of their produce, and went without all modern convenience - no electricity, running water, etc.  Neither of the parents were employed - but instead provided for their families by taking care of the home - a very large job provided that they did everything themselves. They home schooled their children, and taught them the value of hard work through numerous chores.   The children were not academically where they should have been according to the school system, and missed out on many of the socializing activities associated with going to school and having friends.  Their children expressed that they wished that they could do more with their peers, and live more of their childhood as children, and not the hard workers their parents had made them.

The other family was the opposite.  They lived in an extremely large mansion, had 9 vehicles, and 3 maids that did all of the house work.  Both parents owned their own successful businesses which funded all of these luxuries, but unfortunately did not leave enough time for spending with family.  It  was so bad, that their 3 year old son spoke more Spanish than English, because he spent most of his time with the hired help. Their children spent most of their time spending their parents money in various shopping trips, and outings with friends from school - but very rarely together.  Their children expressed that they wished that they had more time to spend as a family - especially with their parents who were always working out of the house.

What I found to be the most interesting was that both families stood by their original beliefs and morals when the "new wife" changed the rules.   The rich family was very reluctant to give up their modern conveniences,  just as the  "back the the basics" family was reluctant to add modern conveniences to their lifestyle.  In the end, both families realized that their children's needs were being neglected one way or another, and that one could benefit from practicing some of the things, the opposing families did regularly, and made compromises to benefit the greater good. 


The greater good.. at the end of the day, isn't that what it all boils down to?  I'm not saying money is nothing, but I am however saying that it is most definitely isn't everything - not even close.   Everyone needs some money to afford basic existence, but how much do we really need - when is it that we put an end to our goal to be unnecessarily wealthy in order to honor our morals, our beliefs, the greater good?



Uploaded 03/22/2010
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